Saturday, October 5, 2013

Verizon sued by shareholder over $130 billion Vodafone deal

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with Vodafone and Verizon texts as he poses with a Samsung Galaxy S3 in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, September 3, 2013. Picture taken September 3. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

A man is silhouetted against a video screen with Vodafone and Verizon texts as he poses with a Samsung Galaxy S3 in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, September 3, 2013. Picture taken September 3.

Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK | Fri Sep 6, 2013 2:28pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Verizon Communications Inc has been sued by a shareholder seeking to void its $130 billion buyout of Vodafone Group Plc's stake in the companies' wireless joint venture on the grounds the price is too high.

In a lawsuit filed in a New York state court on Thursday, just three days after the transaction was announced, Natalie Gordon said Verizon shareholders are being "shortchanged" by the purchase of Vodafone's 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile phone operator.

Verizon, which owns the other 55 percent, agreed to pay Vodafone $59 billion in cash, $60 billion in stock and other sums. Verizon Wireless has about 100 million customers.

Gordon said "it is evident that Verizon has overpaid," adding that "Wall Street analysts concur" and that Moody's Investors Service downgraded Verizon's credit.

She also pointed to a drop in Verizon's share price to $45.08 on September 3, the first trading day after the purchase was announced, from a peak of $48.60 on August 29, when news that Verizon and Vodafone had revived talks surfaced. The lawsuit characterized the 7.2 percent decline as "almost 10%."

The lawsuit seeks class-action status, and also names Verizon Chief Executive Lowell McAdam and 12 directors as defendants, accusing them of breaching their fiduciary duties.

It seeks to force Verizon to rescind the purchase or improve the terms, and force the individual defendants to pay damages.

"We believe this lawsuit is entirely without merit, and Verizon intends to defend itself vigorously," Randal Milch, Verizon executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement.

Vodafone, which is not a defendant, declined to comment.

Gordon is represented by law firm Faruqi & Faruqi, and has within the last five years been a shareholder plaintiff in several other lawsuits filed by that firm, court records show.

Juan Monteverde, a partner at the New York-based firm, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Verizon-Vodafone transaction would be the third-largest in corporate history, and end their 14-year joint venture.

Talks resumed in earnest this summer as Verizon grew concerned that rising interest rates might make a transaction too pricey.

The price rose from the $100 billion that Verizon had earlier floated, people familiar with the matter said.

Moody's one-notch downgrade left Verizon's long-term credit rating at "Baa1," a low investment grade, reflecting the company's plan to add $67 billion of debt and more than double its debt load. Nonetheless, Moody's ratings outlook is "stable."

The case is Gordon v. Verizon Communications Inc et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 653084/2013.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Additional reporting by Nate Raymond and Jennifer Saba in New York, and Leila Abboud in London; Editing by Eddie Evans, Andre Grenon and Jim Marshall)


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Friday, October 4, 2013

China to cap rare earth production at 93,800 tonnes in 2013: ministry

BEIJING | Fri Sep 6, 2013 8:21am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will cap rare earth production at 93,800 tonnes over the whole of 2013 as part of efforts to rein in unlicensed production in the sector, the country's land and resources ministry said on Friday.

The figure is the same as 2011. China did not announce a national production cap for 2012, but instead imposed limits on a province-by-province basis.

China produces more than 90 percent of global rare earth supplies, making it a key exporter of a series of 17 metals with a range of applications in sectors such as defense, telecommunications and renewable energy.

Since 2010, Beijing has been trying to exert more control over the sector, where unauthorized production, environmental pollution and smuggling have been rife. It launched another campaign in early August aimed at cracking down on illegal activities.

Its efforts to cut output and impose strict export quotas have been criticized by foreign governments concerned about China's chokehold over supplies.

The United States, Japan and the European Union have complained to the World Trade Organization about Beijing's efforts to control the sector, saying China is trying to use its stranglehold over supplies to drive up prices and gain a competitive advantage.

But China has repeatedly said rampant overmining has caused untold ecological damage and that it no longer wants to pay the environmental costs of supplying the vast bulk of the world's rare earths.

(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Dale Hudson)


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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Detroit emergency manager wants to close, freeze city's 2 pension funds


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Glitches, traffic hobble opening of public health insurance exchanges


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Health care plan costs expected to rise 4.8% in 2014: Survey


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Premiums for Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to rise 3.7%


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California expands paid family leave law


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22% of employers penalize workers not taking part in wellness programs


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Pension plan year change not automatic if PBGC premiums affected: IRS


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Tax-favored savings accounts help drive wellness program engagement


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McCormick to pay out $60 million in annuities-to-lump-sum conversion plan


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Pension plans funding levels highest in 5 years: Mercer


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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Jaguar's New Platform: XF Replacement Will Be Aluminum, Too

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now Home  >  Features  >  News  >  Jaguar's New Platform: XF Replacement Will Be Aluminum, Too By Paul Horrell | September 22, 2013  |   At the Frankfurt show, after the reveal of the Jaguar C-X17 crossover concept, reporters sat down with Jaguar design director Ian Callum and Jaguar Land Rover vehicle line director Kevin Stride. The same day Jaguar showed the concept to the press, and then publicly at least seemed coy about whether it will make production, the automaker made a far more significant announcement. The company will launch a new all-aluminum BMW 3 Series rival two years from now. To be exact, Jaguar said the all-new aluminum architecture under the C-X17 will be going into production in a sports sedan to be launched in 2015. And the company isn't being modest about its ambitions: "It will be the most efficient, advanced, and refined premium sports sedan ever seen in the C/D segment," the company said in a press release. No Jaguar executive could ever have made that boast of the late, unlamented X-Type. 2014 Jaguar XFR S Front View 2

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2013 Infiniti JX35 Long-Term Update 3

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now By Julia LaPalme | Photos By Motor Trend Staff | From the November 2013 issue of Motor Trend  |   I recently took the JX35 in for its third maintenance interval, which was simply an oil change, oil filter change, and tire rotation. There was a concern that the front driver's side wheel was making noises at freeway speeds, but the folks at the Infiniti dealership found nothing wrong with the wheel or suspension parts. After making sure our vehicle was not part of recall #13V139000 for a failed brake torque member, they assured me the noise I heard was the hydrolic-electric steering. Aside from mysterious noises, the JX35 could use a little finesse in the cruise control department. While driving in Normal and Eco modes around town can be a bit sluggish, driving in Sport mode while using cruise control is almost jarring. For the most part, the JX cruises well on the freeway, using adaptive cruise control to mind its distance from vehicles ahead of us. However, when the adaptive cruise control has slowed down below my set speed, and I change lanes to pass slower traffic, the JX suddenly accelerates aggressively to get back up to speed. 2013 Infiniti JX35 HookView the original article here

2014 Cadillac CTS First Drive

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now By now, you've probably seen our first test of the smoking twin-turbo CTS Vsport and you know it's got what it takes to run with the Germans should you encounter them on the street or track. If you're not the sort of person who enters into races, impromptu or planned, you might wonder how the rest of the line -- including the CTS -- manages. Keep reading to find out. The short answer: very well. I was given the opportunity to drive the complete new CTS range in the rolling hills and valleys around Santa Barbara, California, and I can confidently say that the rest of the CTS line is as competitive as the Vsport. Given my experiences with the smaller ATS, I wasn't too concerned about the mid-range 3.6-liter V-6 model, but I was apprehensive about the 2.0-liter turbocharged base model. In the ATS, it needed a little work, and the whole turbo-four-in-a-big-car thing didn't make for an especially engaging BMW 5 Series. Did Cadillac get the formula right? Yes it has. I'd be perfectly happy driving the base CTS around with its little turbo four-cylinder humming away under the hood all day long. Torque is ample at throttle tip-in and increases through the mid-range. Past 5000 rpm the horsepower hits its peak right as the torque falls off and really pulls the car to redline. It's no screaming street racer, but it'll never leave you wanting on a freeway on-ramp or when trying to make a pass. 2014 Cadillac CTS Front View LowView the original article here

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C First Drive

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now Do you even care? Honestly, if I told you the 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C drives like a 1983 Dodge Diplomat on bald tires, would it really make a difference? After all, Alfa told us that the 4C has “more to do with the heart than with the brain.” I believe they mean that girls this gorgeous can be Miss Teen South Carolina dumb, because just look at her! I have teeth marks on my fist after a full day spent gawking at the car marking Alfa Romeo’s return to the U.S. after the brand packed up the espresso machines back in 1995. The 4C’s so hot that if the Fiat Group had decided to slap “Dino 246” on the rump next to a yellow shield filled with a prancing horse, car enthusiasts the world over would still be nodding their collective heads yes. She’s a total dreamboat, my friends, and I even dig the headlights. As for the rest of the car, keep reading. 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C Right Side ViewView the original article here

Japan's DoCoMo to begin selling iPhone as early as autumn: sources

A man walks past the logo of Japan's biggest mobile phone operator NTT Docomo at its shop in Tokyo July 3, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

A man walks past the logo of Japan's biggest mobile phone operator NTT Docomo at its shop in Tokyo July 3, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

By Maki Shiraki and Nobuhiro Kubo

TOKYO | Thu Sep 5, 2013 9:23pm EDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - NTT DoCoMo Inc will begin selling Apple Inc's iPhone as early as this autumn, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday, as it seeks to halt a loss of market share to rivals already offering Japan's most popular smartphone.

DoCoMo, Japan' biggest mobile carrier, had long resisted taking on the iPhone, which remains the most popular smartphone in Japan despite the ascendance of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy series elsewhere.

It has paid heavily for that strategy as it ceded market share to smaller competitors KDDI Corp and Softbank Corp.

DoCoMo, a pioneer in mobile Internet and one of the last of the world's large mobile carriers still not offering the iPhone to its 60 million customers, said in a stock exchange statement that it had nothing to announce on the matter.

Apple is expected to unveil the latest version of its iPhone at an event on September 10. The Nikkei business daily said an announcement that DoCoMo would begin marketing the iPhone is likely to come on the same day.

Shares in Softbank, the first Japanese carrier to offer the iPhone, fell 2.8 percent as of 0115 GMT on Friday, while KDDI dipped 0.1 percent. DoCoMo was 0.5 percent higher after opening up more than 3 percent.

The sources said DoCoMo would continue with its planned winter promotions for handsets made by Sony Corp, Sharp Corp and Fujitsu Ltd.

Fujitsu shares, which had risen on news that it would be included in the winter promotions, fell 1.6 percent. Sony rose 0.5 percent while Sharp fell 1.3 percent. Tokyo's benchmark Nikkei average was down 1.2 percent.

Although DoCoMo's negotiations with Apple had been shrouded in secrecy, it was widely believed that strict contractual obligations typically linked to iPhone sales would have conflicted with the Japanese mobile leader's practices.

The sources said it was not clear exactly when a DoCoMo iPhone would go on sale.

(Reporting by Maki Shiraki and Nobuhiro Kubo; Writing by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Chris Gallagher)


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2013 Subaru BRZ Long-Term Update 6

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now Long Term: By Rory Jurnecka | Photos By Motor Trend Staff | From the November 2013 issue of Motor Trend  |   As a budget sports car, the BRZ can be a little uncompromising sometimes. Around the uneven freeways and potholed roads of Los Angeles, daily commuting in the little Subaru requires a willingness to be jostled around. The price paid for little body roll and that glued-to-the-asphalt feel on Southern California's best back roads is a pretty firm ride around town. Living with the car week to week and month to month, I've gotten used to the way it rides and even put it out of mind. But getting back into the BRZ after a few days spent in a more supple sedan or SUV can be a little eye-opening. For those looking for a true sports car, that shouldn't be a deal breaker at all -- it wouldn't be for me. I just took Burrzz in for its third service at roughly 21,000 miles (a routine oil change and inspection) and the dealer also replaced the shifter mechanism -- knob to lever assembly -- under a service bulletin. I'd be experiencing a bit of shifter rattle at certain RPMs on the freeway, and the revised assembly with different bushings appears to be the fix I was looking for. The lever is now rattle-free and has lost the slight notchiness it used to have, shifting better than ever. Of course it's expected that new-to-market cars will have small problems -- the way automakers handle those issues makes all the difference. 2013 Subaru BRZ Rear Three QuartersView the original article here

2014 Volkwagen Jetta 1.8T First Drive

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now Volkswagen has taken plenty of ribbing in recent years for its 2.5-liter I-5 engine, offered as a lower-cost alternative to the more favorable 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 in the SE and SEL trims of the Jetta (as well as Golf and Passat models). With a reputation for being somewhat rougher than more modern I-4s and lacking low-end torque, the 170-hp, 177 lb-ft five-cylinder black sheep just hasn't gotten much love since its U.S. introduction in 2005. Why couldn't the cut-rate engine behave a little more like the 2.0T? Well, now it does. For 2014, among other improvements to the Jetta range, Volkswagen has ousted the 2.5-liter mill in favor of a 1.8-liter turbocharged I-4, based on the new third-generation 2.0 TSI engine, code-named EA888. Essentially the same engine, just downsized, the new 1.8T gets all the benefits that the larger 2.0T does, including the trick integrated exhaust manifold which, in addition to being more efficient, also aids in engine warm-up and weight savings. While skeptics may note that the new engine makes the same horsepower as the old I-5 and torque is only up 7 lb-ft, the full 184 lb-ft comes in at a measly 1500 rpm, improving drivability greatly. 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Front EndView the original article here

2014 BMW M3/M4 First Ride

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now BMW has finally pulled back the curtain a bit farther on the M3 sedan and M4 coupe, revealing a tantalizing amount of technical detail during a "second look/first ride" event held near the vehicle's birthplace outside Munich. We'll spare the suspense and let you know that corralled within the aluminum hood and front fenders lies an all-new, 3027cc twin-turbo inline-six that BMW promises will provide the instantaneous throttle response, linear power delivery, and stirring engine note of a high-revving naturally aspirated engine, and the stout, broad-as-Ayers-Rock torque curve of a turbo. And yes, it's an all-new engine, with an 89.6mm bore and 80.0mm stroke (the 335i measures 84.0 x 89.6, for 2979cc) that we're told will produce somewhere in the neighborhood of 430 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque. That's 25 percent more torque with a claimed 25 percent less fuel consumption (see our Engine Deep Dive below for more). A choice of six-speed manual (with automatic rev-matching in Sport, but not Sport Plus mode) or seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (using the M5/M6's taller gearing) will route all that furious twist to the rear wheels. 2014 BMW M3 M4 Technology Days LineupView the original article here

2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Exclusive First Test

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now First Test: By Scott Evans | Photos By Mark Bramley | September 23, 2013  |   It's not easy being the new kid, especially at the high-performance prep school. With a few notable exceptions, Ferrari doesn't really make bad cars. Many are among the best performers of their generation, and here comes the 2014 F12 Berlinetta, ready to pick up that torch from the Enzo with claims it'll be even quicker than the iconic, all-out supercar that once held several records in our testing books. The new kid thinks he's tough. It will come as no surprise to the auto-literate that the F12 is a very quick car. Let's get right down to it: The Ferrari F12 hits 60 mph from a standstill in 3.6 seconds and runs the quarter mile in 11.3 seconds at a screaming 131.7 mph. It stops from 60 mph in just 106 feet and pulls an estimated 0.99 g on the skid pad. In the ranks of supercars, those are pretty good numbers, but they also provoke questions. A 3.6-second 60-mph time isn't all that great for a 731-hp car with 509 lb-ft of torque. There are several other rear-drive sports cars that will do that with significantly less power. Certain Corvettes, Porsches, McLarens, and even the odd Mustang come to mind. The stopping distance also falls into the realm of very good but not great. An 11.3-second quarter-mile run is even a few tenths slow for the power. The odd figure out is the incredibly high quarter-mile trap speed, which I'll get to in a second. 2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Front Three QuartersView the original article here

2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI First Test

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now The 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins a diesel fleet that, according to the automaker, represents 75 percent of all diesel-powered vehicles sold in the United States. Although the broader numbers show that diesel-powered passenger vehicles have never enjoyed the sweeping success here that they’ve had in Europe, some brands continue to plod ahead with oil-burning engines and reap relatively strong sales. Volkswagen is one of these brands, having sold more than 1 million diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. since the first Rabbit diesel was sold here in 1977. VW’s current 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine, found under the hood of the 2013 Jetta, has enjoyed years of relative success, with Volkswagen often claiming that sales are limited mostly by production capacity. Waitlists at dealers and high TDI resale values seem to back that up. The engine produces 140 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque, enough to propel our Reflex Silver Metallic example from 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds flat, then on to the quarter-mile in 16.2 seconds, with a trap speed of 86.3 mph. Those figures might not sound too impressive, but keep in mind that: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Front Three QuarterView the original article here

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 vs. 2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta vs. 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now Home  >  Road Tests  >  Coupes  >  Comparison  >  2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51 vs. 2014 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta vs. 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. No, I'm not talking about the Jacobin Reign of Terror, or anything to do with Charles Dickens. I'm talking about how the Motor Trend staff felt after wrapping up our 2013 Best Driver's Car competition (powered by Peanut M&Ms). For most of us, it's our most anticipated event of the year. Really and truly the best of times for certified performance-junkie fast-car types. The Porsche 911 had just pulled off the first ever back-to-back win in BDC history. That means that, in two competitions just 12 months apart, Porsche's rear-engine magic ride had taken on and defeated 19 other competitors. In fact, the last car any of us had driven that would honestly give the 911 a run for its money was the Ferrari 458 Italia, the 2011 BDC champ. Chevrolet Corvette Porsche 911 Carrera 4S Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Front End In Motion 02

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2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG S Model First Drive

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now The moment I crested 200 kilometers per hour, I realized how ridiculous the new S63 AMG is. (That's about 125 of our superior miles per hour.) I was on a rain-slicked section of unrestricted autobahn near Munich, though for all the car cared I may as well have been parked at the beach. Minutes earlier I'd set my seat massage to program number 2 (I believe that one's called either Hot and Dirty, or Quick and Shameful). While the hot stone massage is a very welcome luxury, I am totally averse to heat in all forms. So I turned on my seat AC to cancel out the sizzling stones. Yes, you can run hot and cold at the same time -- like a mixed water tap. The S63's cabin perfumer was emitting some sort of citrus scent, and just for giggles I'd activated the cabin air ionizer. Next on my agenda was selecting the perfect ambient interior lighting. The blue was too "Fast and Furious" for Bavaria, while the pink was too Virgin America for me. Tangerine -- why yes of course, tangerine. Not only do I like that color, but it matched the cabin perfume. But here's the real reason why the S63 turned ridiculous: Above 200 km/h the DTR+ Steering stops working. DTR+ Steering is Mercedes-ese for the semiautonomous driving mode that uses built-in stereo cameras to keep the big limousine centered between the lines. Suddenly, as the cruise control took us beyond the metric double-ton, I had to start paying attention to the actual act of driving. Ridiculous, right? 2014 Mercedes Benz S63 AMG S Model Front Three Quarteres 032014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG S Model Front-engine, AWD, 4-door, 4-5-pass sedan 5.5L/577-hp/664-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC V-8

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2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD, 2015 GMC Sierra HD First Look

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now Home  >  Road Tests  >  Trucks  >  First Look  >  2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD, 2015 GMC Sierra HD First Look Although the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickups were nearly indistinguishable from the 2010 models, significant improvements included a fully boxed frame with an updated Duramax diesel engine and Allison transmission. Visual updates are finally part of the package for the revised 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and 2015 GMC Sierra HD trucks, which also receive upgrades under the sheetmetal as well. While 2015 Chevrolet Silverado HD and 2015 GMC Sierra HD models use essentially the same cab and beds as the 1500 models, the front ends feature larger grilles with chrome trim and cooling intakes, a new hood and headlights, and chrome bumpers. Other changes increase reduced interior noise and increased efficiency. Improved cooling ability comes from a new sealed front end that uses cooling air more efficiently as well as the engine air intake located outside of the hot engine compartment to better maintain power levels while hauling and towing in hot weather. 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD LTZ Front ViewView the original article here

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Picking the Best Hurts So Good - The Lohdown

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now To the outsider, I bet our annual Best Driver's Car cover story seems like a massive pain in the ass. Like any major undertaking, we start planning early, first by locking down venues 6-8 months in advance. Then comes the courtship, where we cajole top-tier automakers to give up their latest and greatest performance cars for a test in which they stand a good shot at losing. This year, we managed to convince 10 manufacturers to send 12 cars to our headquarters in El Segundo, California. We added another 13 vehicles to support a crew of more than 35 editors, video producers, photographers, drivers, and production assistants, and all the computers, cameras, tripods, dollies, bounce boards, tires, tools, luggage, and ice chests needed for the eight-day, multi-stop ordeal. The logistics of getting this team on the road are not even half of the story. Permits, road-closure notifications, and the assistance of three CHP officers are the basic requirements for our first stop, the glorious California Highway 198. Then there's our stint at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Two days might sound like a lot of time to lap 12 cars, especially when we start with a sunrise photo shoot and end with another at sundown, but the demands of the test, photo, and video teams mean that not a minute can be wasted. Each vehicle goes out for several lapping sessions -- at least once for Randy Pobst to set his time, another for him to talk to camera, and at least one more with cameras mounted inside and out, followed by runs for an editor or two. There are static and action shoots for photo and video, group shots, rig shots, blow-bys, and corner-by-corner drift sessions. Rinse and repeat, for each car -- while trying to grab a slice of pizza in between. Then we roll back down to our SoCal test facility to gather any missing data on the hero cars. With the time left over, we film this little ditty we call the "World's Greatest Drag Race" -- and I don't want to talk about that headache. So why do we do it? Why devote the cover and 31 pages of the issue to finding the best driver's car in America? Why produce 19 videos, including a 77-minute masterpiece, our longest film yet? Why go to all the trouble to create this content, and then put it out there free of charge on MotorTrend.com and our YouTube channel? Because we love performance cars as much as you do. And, to paraphrase that old saying, when you love something, turn off the traction control, set it free on a closed course, and don't come back until the brakes are on fire. When it comes to performance-car comparos, this year's Best Driver's Car is our magnum opus, the be all, end all, the very best you'll ever see, bar none -- until we do it all again next year. 2013 Best Drivers Car Rear ViewView the original article here

2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith First Drive

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now Wraith. The name conjures images of something moving swiftly along damp and misty Mayfair roads at four in the morning; a half-seen apparition momentarily visible in the yellow glare of the streetlights before disappearing into the darkness with a hiss of rubber on wet tarmac. It's the perfect name for the sportiest Rolls-Royce in history. In simple terms, the Wraith is the coupe version of the Ghost, the so-called "small" Rolls-Royce built using some basic architectural hardware shared with the F01/F02 BMW 7 Series. Compared with the standard-wheelbase Ghost, the wheelbase is 7.2 inches shorter, and overall length has been trimmed 4.2 inches. The dash-to-axle ratio is the same as the Ghost sedan, but the front overhang is longer. Overall height is 1.7 inches lower. 2014 Rolls Royce Wraith Door Open

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2014 Ram ProMaster First Drive

Your browser, , is out of date and not supported by www.motortrend.com. It may not display all features of our site properly and could have potential security flaws. Please update your browser to the most upated version. Update Now Back in September 2009, after Mercedes-Benz cut ties with Chrysler, Mercedes announced it would no longer license its Sprinter commercial van to its ex-partner, which had sold them under Dodge's Ram division. Several things happened between then and now. Chrysler entered bankruptcy and emerged under Fiat control; Ram was split off into its own brand, separate from Dodge; and the commercial van competition heated up with the launch of the new Nissan NV and an all-new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. From this whirlwind, Chrysler has launched the vehicle that will return it to the commercial van game: the Ram ProMaster. Essentially a re-badged Fiat Ducato, Americanized for your convenience, the ProMaster reaps all the benefits of a commercial van that has matured and evolved over three generations. (Fiat claims more than 4.5 million Ducatos have been sold since the model's inception in 1981.) Though the styling might strike some as similar to the Sprinter's, the vehicle distinguishes itself from the competition in one big way: its front-wheel-drive architecture. 2014 Ram Promaster Front Passengers SideView the original article here